South East Wales

Nikitta Grender's brother Luke guilty of raping girl

Luke Grender Image copyright Wales News Service

A man who admitted raping a schoolgirl three times has been spared jail due to the "exceptional circumstances" of his sister's murder.

Luke Grender, 18, of Newport, was given a suspended sentence at Newport Crown Court after a judge said his family had been through "heartbreak".

His sister Nikitta and her unborn baby were murdered in 2011 by Carl Whant, who then burnt down her house.

The court heard Grender's victim was aged under 13.

Whant was jailed for life with a minimum of 35 years and was also found guilty of raping Nikitta, who was 19 at the time of her killing.

The court heard the impact of his sister's death "twisted the thinking" of her brother.

John Lloyd, prosecuting, said Grender raped his victim three times when he was 16 or 17.

Speaking of the impact on his victim, Mr Lloyd added: "Since this incident she doesn't feel like a person anymore. She doesn't trust anyone.

"She said 'I want to go out with friends without looking over my shoulder. I want to look forward to the future'."

Image caption Nikitta Grender was eight months pregnant when she was killed

James Tucker, defending, said: "One of the contortions twisting the thinking of Luke is that he has ended up, in some way, blaming himself for being so close to his sister so soon before she was killed."

Grender cried in the dock as Judge Philip Richards told him he could be spared prison because the circumstances were "quite exceptional by any standards".

'Appalling reflections'

Judge Richards added: "You must not think you are getting away with it. Your conduct towards this young girl was entirely unacceptable.

"It is likely she will have appalling reflections on this ordeal for the rest of her life.

He added: "You and your family have undergone more heartbreak than nearly any other family in the context of the work we undergo.

"I believe that the reality is that a sentence in the community will offer you more help and protect the public more quickly, than a short prison sentence - that you would struggle to cope with."

Grender was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

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